Sugar cravings are common these days, when first starting an ancestral lifestyle, and they occur for many reasons. For women it is extremely important to listen to your body and what it’s actually telling you. Modern women live very busy lives, and this is why is it essential to slow down and take care of your health, daily.
Food cravings - especially cravings for foods high in sugar - can be an ongoing issue for many suffering from chronic conditions including autoimmune conditions. You’re certainly not alone. Many people struggle from this very issue and it continues to be a topic of much discussion.
Main Reasons for Sugar Cravings
If you’re craving sugars more often than usual, you might be having blood sugar and/or hormonal imbalances. This often happens when first implementing an ancestral eating strategy, since your body is transitioning away from the wildly excessive carbohydrate intake of the standard modern diet. You’re body is used to utilizing carbohydrates as fuel, and so when it detects the drop in blood sugar, it thinks you’re entering into a state of starvation. This mode (sugar burning mode) then hormonally signals your body to find more of the same fuel (carbs). When you’re a fat burner, your body prefers to burn fat for fuel, and so the sugar cravings should go away. However, if the cravings persist, there could be other underlying problems . This is why it’s very important to connect with your integrative physician and ask him/her the reasons for your cravings, and, of course, get tested.
If you’re craving constant chocolates, candies, donuts or a very larger amount of carbohydrates than usual, this may also be a vitamin or a mineral deficiency. Chromium is a mineral that helps reduce the impact of carbohydrates in your diet. So try taking chromium supplements during meals (especially lunch) to alleviate the afternoon sugar crash and/or carb cravings. Or, even better, consume foods like onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cinnamon, grapes, apples and romaine lettuce - all good sources of chromium.
Another common reason is a lack of protein in the diet. Women suffering from chronic fatigue often don’t get enough protein in their diet. Most people having sugar cravings will often snack on carbohydrates alone, and in large amounts. This constant spike and fall of insulin during the day causes fluctuations in energy, keeping you reaching for more sugars.
Sugar Cravings and Chronic Conditions
This vicious cycle is of sugar cravings is a spinning wheel with no end in sight. What is often observed is that there is a link between sugar cravings and chronic disease, like autoimmune conditions. Some include eczema, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Ulcerative colitis, Lyme disease, seasonal allergies, environmental sensitivities, acid reflux, migraines, adrenal fatigue, arthritis and fibromyalgia.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, excess sugars can increase acidity in the body, making your digestive tract more of an environment conducive to dangerous pathogens. In an article written called, Do Gut Microbes Control Your Food Cravings? by Chris Kresser, he states that the gut biome is loaded with both good and bad bacteria. It is scientifically identified that these bacteria have certain nutritional preferences, and most of the bad bacteria prefer carbohydrate. Such gut flora can dramatically affect mood and stress responses negatively.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Linked to Sugar Cravings
The essential vitamins and minerals in our body can easily be removed from our body. As humans, we can become dehydrated very easily, which can cause such imbalances in the body in many ways. Mineral water is a great way to maintain hydration and retain these essential vitamins and minerals.
For those suffering with blood sugar problems, try looking into cinnamon - a powerful herb that can help moderate blood sugar levels. It can be purchased in tincture, powder or capsule. Sprinkling it lightly on foods or vegetables is a great way to maintain your healthy habits on a daily basis.
Magnesium deficiency is also common for many Americans consuming a standard modern diet. If you’re not eating a lot of fresh fruits and vegetable on a regular basis, you’re likely magnesium deficient. In fact, it has been reported that 68% of Americans are lacking in this mineral. To get the benefit of the mineral from foods, start feasting regularly on broccoli, squash, kale, swiss chard, seaweed, raw cocoa, quinoa, spinach, pumpkin seeds and almonds. Or, you can incorporate supplementary magnesium by taking over-the-counter supplements daily. Chelated forms, such as magnesium glycinate or malate, are most easily absorbed by the body.
Magnesium also helps the body reduce sugar cravings. The very best way to get this mineral in your system is with food. Other magnesium-rich foods include nuts, seeds, greens, raw cacao, fruit and sprouted grains.
Carb cravings may also be indicative of sulphur deficiencies. To get more of this mineral, consume more horseradish, carob powder, cruciferous vegetables, cranberries, asparagus, garlic and onions.
To better understand your mineral levels focus on improving your health naturally by increase healthy foods, herbs and supplements. Before embarking down this road, I highly suggest that you get you primary care provider to run tests for mineral and vitamin deficiencies in order to determine your wellness plan.